Meridian Energy pulls out of 633.6-MW Project Hayes wind farm in New Zealand, citing other renewable energy project priorities

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , January 19, 2012 (press release) – Meridian is withdrawing its applications that are before the Environment Court for resource consents for Project Hayes, a wind farm proposed for the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago, following a review of the project.

The project was a high priority commercially for Meridian when the consent applications were lodged in 2006, when it was granted resource consents by the relevant local authorities in 2007 and Meridian remained committed through the Environment Court and High Court appeal processes. Since then, Meridian has reviewed Hayes against its portfolio of renewable development options.

“Our portfolio has developed considerably and our review showed us that other projects now are a higher commercial priority than Project Hayes,” said Mark Binns, Meridian Chief Executive.

“Meridian now has a number of potential development options that would be progressed ahead of Project Hayes. Withdrawing the consent applications is not only the most prudent commercial decision for Meridian, but also avoids prolonging uncertainty about this project for the community and the project’s supporters.”

Meridian has a strong track record as a developer of wind farms, with operational wind farms around the country including Te Apiti, White Hill, West Wind and Te Uku. The Project Hayes proposal was for a 176-turbine wind farm with a capacity of 633.6 MW.

Mr Binns said withdrawing the resource consent applications for Project Hayes is the right decision but is disappointing, not only for Meridian but also for all those who had an interest in the project proceeding.

“Meridian has worked closely with landowners, the community and a range of stakeholders throughout the resource consent process. We value the relationships we have developed in Central Otago, and acknowledge and thank everyone who has been involved in the project,” he said.

Meridian will continue to contribute to the Central Otago District Council’s plan change process to help ensure robust planning frameworks are in place to support other potential wind farm developments in the region in the future.

About Meridian Energy

Meridian is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator and currently owns and operates seven hydro stations, four wind farms within New Zealand, and one wind farm in Australia:

• Manapouri power station and six hydro stations on the Waitaki River in the South Island

• Te Apiti wind farm near Palmeston North

• White Hill wind farm in Southland

• West Wind farm in Wellington

• Te Uku wind farm in Raglan

• Mt Millar wind farm, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

• CalRENEW-1 solar farm in Mendota, California

Internationally, Meridian has operations in Sydney Australia and San Francisco, California.

Meridian also retails electricity to around 270,000 individual customer connections (including Powershop) throughout New Zealand, which includes households, farms and businesses. It also provides electricity to New Zealand’s single largest electricity user, the Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand Limited aluminium smelter in Bluff.

Meridian invests strongly in renewable energy development and has over 1,500 megawatts of Australasian development opportunities in the development pipeline.

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